Monday, February 12, 2007

polarize the headlights and set the engine for silent running

Long ago in TV land there was this very successful up and coming producer named William Dozier. In 1965 Dozier called Dean Jeffries to build the Batmobile for the upcoming TV show. Jeffries agreed and set to work on a 59 Cadillac. Two weeks later Dozier called and said they moved up the timetable and they needed the car in 3 weeks and Jeffries knowing that he would not be able to do a job he was proud of, declined the task of making the Batmobile. Desperate Dozier contacted George Barris and in roughly 3 weeks the Batmobile was born out of the 1955 Lincoln Futura show car.

It was 1966 when "Batman" the ever-popular TV series aired. Trying to duplicate that success, producers at 20th Century Fox brought forth The Green Hornet starring Bruce Lee as Kato in 1966. Many a young child got their first exposure to martial arts with the introduction of this show.

Dozier was unhappy with the job Barris did so, Dean Jeffries, was contacted by the studio and asked to create a car to rival the Batmobile but be a little more realistic. Jeffries chose a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial for the task. Very possibly Chrysler's first prominent TV/Movie car! He created only two cars for the show, one is currently in the hands of a California collector and the other has recently been discovered and is on the east coast. (Barris created 4 replicas for touring at car shows but without Jeffries or the studio's approval). Thanks to the Imperial Car Club for the info.

This is the sad and odd story of Dan "JR" Goodman, who bought one of the "original" Black Beauties and had it restored by the builder himself, Dean Jeffries. The story takes another odd route when my brother and I had the - and I use the word very loosely - "opportunity" to buy one of the Barris clones. Sadly parents with no true insight of a what a proper first car is for their motorhead sons prompty killed the plan, there where many, many tense years afterwards I can tell you, particuarly when we had another opportunity to buy one of the Barris knockoff Easy Rider "Captain America" show bikes ... for all of $800.00 - again vetoed.

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